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Rogue window-washing robot killed man on cruise ship

June 28, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A robotic window-washing machine, working automatically in the dark of the night, crushed and killed a man during a luxury Mediterranean cruise, an inquest has heard.

Leading Seaman Arshad Mehmood, 57, was working on P&O Cruises’ enormous, 19-deck MV Azura during a Mediterranean cruise in July 2018, the hearing was told.

A window washing robot was creeping along the 290-metre ship’s starboard side at night-time when Mehmood, from Pakistan, made an attempt to turn the machine off. As Mehmood reached out through a hatch, the window washer caught him and crushed him against the ship’s side.

Hampshire coroner Grahame Short concluded Mehmood’s death was accidental.

“He reached out and became trapped between the machine and the side of the ship,” Short concluded.

“He was crushed, asphyxiated, and he died in that position.”

The coroner added that Mehmood had tried to stow the window-washer single-handedly rather than asking his co-worker to use a remote-control panel. In doing so, he had deviated from his training, the coroner said.

MV Azura

According to a report by the BBC, an investigator for Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority said he had recommended safety improvements to the window-washing machine, manufactured by a Swedish firm.

P&O Cruises said in a statement it was “deeply saddened” by the loss of the experienced crew member.

It said: “While we have already made improvements to our safety management systems we will continue to do so to ensure a similar accident cannot happen again.”

Written by Peter Needham

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